Kenjiro Tsuda and Eric Stuart, who voiced fan-favorite character Seto Kaiba in the Japanese and English versions of the Yu Gi Oh! Duel of monsters anime, respectively, both paid tribute to the end Yu Gi Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi.
Following news of Takahashi’s tragic death, Tsuda took to Twitter, simply sharing a photo of a hand (presumably his own) holding a copy of “Blue-Eyes White Dragon”, Kaiba’s signature card. from Yu Gi Oh! animated.
Likewise, Stuart praised Takhashi on his own Twitter account. “This is incredibly sad news,” the voice actor said of the mangaka’s passing. “So shocking. An incredibly talented man. Sensei created a role that would help define my voice acting career. He once told me that my version of Seto Kaiba was his favorite. RIP. Love, Kaiba.”
Stuart also took to Facebook to share the touching story behind a photo showing him alongside Takahashi and Dan Green, the latter of whom voiced the two main leads Yugi Muto and Yami Yugi in the English version of Yu Gi Oh!. “Yugi/Yami, Sensei and Kaiba,” Stuart wrote. “So Dan and I were playing one of our Yu Gi Oh! live duels and were were [sic] said Sensei wanted to meet us. It was exciting that he was there to watch the event.
“I asked what the protocol would be,” he continued. “Would we shake hands, bow, could we talk? I mean he’s the creator of the show! Anyway, we were told to ‘play it. ‘ ear and follow his lead”. After eliminating the bows and awkward “normal” pics, I asked him “Hey, do you want to do an Anime pose with us like we do with the fans?” of the translator widened and softly said it to Sensei. He smiled and said ‘YES!’ Here is the infamous photo. Not only the creator of Yu Gi Oh! But like all of us, a fan. TO TEAR APART. I love you Kaiba.”
Takahashi’s original Yu Gi Oh! manga launched in 1996, spawning a number of anime series, not to mention a wildly popular collectible card game. the original Yu Gi Oh! anime, produced by Toei Animation, aired for 27 episodes in 1998. However, the anime that most fans are probably familiar with, Yu Gi Oh! Duel of monsters (simply called Yu Gi Oh! in some markets), premiering in 2000, with 224 episodes through 2004 (the English dub ran from 2001 to 2006).
While an early version of the character voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa appeared in Toei’s series, it was the Duel of monsters anime that saw Tsuda step into the role of Seto Kaiba for the first time, with Stuart voicing the character in the series’ English dub. Tsuda and Stuart also voiced Kaiba in the 2004 film Yu Gi Oh! The movie: Pyramid of Lightthe spin-off series Yu Gi Oh! GX and a number of video games based on the franchise.
More recently, Tsuda and Stuart voiced Kaiba in the film. Yu Gi Oh! The dark side of dimensions, which premiered in Japan in 2016 and in North America in 2017. The film was written by Takahashi himself, serving as a direct continuation of his original manga. Takahashi also personally drew some of the film’s key images.
On the morning of July 6, 2022, Takahashi was found dead off Okinawa, wearing snorkeling gear. He was 60 years old.